January 2020 Is Jam-Packed With Options Even Without The PCA

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With the PCA gone, players will need to pick a new destination to kick off their poker year.

With the announcement that after 16 years PokerStars is putting an end to the long-standing PCA, there’s now room for new festivals to pick up where the PCA left off.

Since before Black Friday, the PCA was a cornerstone of the poker calendar with players planning on grinding tournaments in the Bahamas at the beginning of the year. January belonged to the PCA. Now, without it, players are beginning to see that there are other options emerging on how to escape their winter situations and pick up a score that could set them up until the World Series of Poker.

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Here are a few of the festivals taking place this January that could fill the void left by the PCA.

Aussie Millions

Of course, the Aussie Millions is another poker calendar mainstay and it’s been a popular one for years. The difference in 2020 is that players may be more inclined to make the trip to the Crown Melbourne than in years past.

Players who were wrapping up in the Bahamas and wanting to make their way to Melbourne were facing a flight time of no less than 19 hours. With connections in Miami and stops in the West Coast of the U.S., it could take well over a full day of travel before dealing with the extreme jetlag.

However, other than the travel, by all accounts, the Aussie Millions has everything. A premier poker room with nearly 100 tables of action, a full slate of tournaments including high rollers to attract the best players in the world, and it’s located in one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

In January, Australia is in peak summer and those looking for things to do outside of the poker room will have no shortage of options including the start of the Australian Open.

This year the Aussie Millions takes place from January 4-24 with the $10,600 Main Event kicking off on January 17.

MILLIONS UK

The newest addition to January’s poker calendar is partypoker’s MILLIONS UK which boasts a $10,300 Main Event with a $5 million guarantee.

Taking place from January 4-12 at Rob Yong’s Dusk Till Dawn card room in Nottingham, MILLIONS UK is a succinct set of tournaments with an eye at attracting the high rollers. In addition to the Main Event, the series has a $25,500 Super High Roller and a $10,300 High Roller both of which come with a $1 million guarantee.

Additionally, there is the $1,100 MILLIONS Open. The tournament a $1M guarantee and also promises 20 seats to the $10K Main Event. Players can play the opening flight of the MILLIONS Open online as well as find satellites to the Main Event online.

World Poker Tour Gardens Poker Championship

The World Poker Tour is keeping it close to home as they bring back their Gardens Poker Championship from January 9-13 at the Gardens Casino in Hawaiian Gardens, CA (just outside of L.A.).

The tournament is the first of the televised event of the current WPT season where the final table will be put on pause and moved to the HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor in Las Vegas.

The $10,000 buy-in assures that even with a modest turnout, the first-place prize will be a hefty six-figure sum. With the PCA out of the picture, it could be a good sign for the WPT as players from L.A., Las Vegas and even the East Coast may opt to spend their allotted PCA budget on a trip to So. Cal and take a shot at a WPT title.

Lucky Hearts Poker Open

Florida is another premiere warm-weather destination in January and the Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood, FL has been bringing players to their sun-soaked Lucky Hearts Poker Open festival since 2012.

In 2020, the LHPO runs from January 9-21 and features a $1,000 World Poker Tour DeepStacks Main Event that begins on January 9 with a $1,000,000 guarantee.

While the full 2020 schedule is still pending, players can expect more of the same from the LHPO. Traditionally the festival features modest price buy-in tournaments and more than your standard No Limit Hold’em spread as mixed games are sprinkled throughout the schedule.

More To Come…?

These are just four of options for players at the start of the year, but is there something else yet to be announced? Will PokerStars jump back into the frey?

On a recent episode of DAT Poker Podcast, former PokerStars ambassador Daniel Negreanu hinted that there may be something new announced on the horizon.

Speaking about the demise of the PCA Negreanu said, “I do believe that something will replace, how do I say this all cryptic…I think there will be something that we see in that time slot in January that will offer players something to play.”